Head of Division: Professor Leslie London MBChB MMed MD Cape Town BSc(Med)(Hons) Stell DOH Witwatersrand FCPHM SA
The Division of Public Health Medicine (PHM) coordinates the School’s contributions to undergraduate teaching in the medical and rehabilitation sciences in the faculty as well as the M Med specialisation programme in Public Health Medicine. The joint appointments in the School (Public Health Medicine specialists, registrars and other staff) provide technical support to the Provincial Health Department through the Health Impact Assessment Directorate and its related health department structures. The Division is thus closely integrated into the service platform in the Western Cape both through its postgraduate and undergraduate teaching, preparing students for the challenges of working in the South African health system.
The practice of Public Health Medicine focuses on the delivery of population-oriented services aimed at promoting the health of communities. The Division runs training for undergraduates in medicine and rehabilitation sciences, as well as a postgraduate specialisation in Public Health Medicine. It supports a wide range of research aimed at advancing public health practice and public health capacity in the health system and provides technical support to the Health Impact Assessment Directorate in the Provincial Health Department as well as having many collaborations with government and NGO services.
You can find more information about our staff, the courses we teach, the postgraduate students in our Division, our areas of research and service, upcoming events and links.
Division of Public Heath Medicine
School of Public Health and Family Medicine
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town
Head of Division: Prof Leslie London
Tel: + 27 21 406 6524
Fax: + 27 21 406 6459
Email: Leslie London
Administrative Assistant: Ms Faranaaz Bennett
Tel: + 27 21 406 6818
Fax: + 27 21 406 6459
Email: Faranaaz Bennett
Becoming a Professional (BP) and Becoming a Health Professional (BHP) are foundation courses for students in the health professions and which aim to ground students in the appropriate ethical and professional approaches to practice.
The Health in Context course is a 6-week course offered to University of Cape Town 4th year medical students to prepare future medical practitioners appropriately for working in our South African health system and to be responsive to the broader South African societal context. The course integrates public health, family medicine, palliative care, health promotion and child health. Using a combination of in class and in community sessions, the course introduces students to the practice of community-oriented primary care (COPC) through theoretical and experiential learning including a targeted intervention determined by the needs of a specific community. Applying the COPC approach, this course trains future doctors to: The COPC model links individual clinical care to the broader population-level determinants of health.
The Master of Medicine in Public Health Medicine (MMed PHM) Programme is a specialist training programme over 4 years, in which registrars are placed with different health authorities to acquire practical skills in the field, and help to implement, manage, monitor, evaluate and improve the quality of different health services, systems and programmes. Since 2000, 26 graduates in Public Health Medicine have graduated through the programme. These graduates now work in government (35%), NGOs (23%), Universities (15%), in the private sector (12%) and as researchers (8%).
The Division has three specialists, 6 registrars and one specialist scientist on the establishment of the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Directorate of the Health Department of the Western Cape Government (WCG) Health Department in joint posts with the University. The Health Impact Assessment Directorate includes four sub-directorates (Epidemiology & Disease Surveillance, Programme Impact Evaluation, Quality Assurance and Health Research) involved in key Public Health functions to which joint staff are attached and where they provide technical support. Their work involved the full gamut of public health support within the Health Department, not only within the HIA Directorate but also to other Chief Directorates (such as Health Programmes, the Cape Metro District) and to other key public health functions in the province. For example, joint staff provide support in the form of:
The Western Cape Burden of Disease Rapid Review was launched by the MEC for Health recently. Several staff in the School were involved in writing the report.
The Public Health Medicine Division provides technical support to the public health functions in the Department of Health with a view to strengthening the delivery of high-quality, equitable and effective services, and promoting conditions, policies and behaviours for healthy living. Our brief is to build capacity amongst health professionals at under- and postgraduate levels, and in services in population-oriented skills so as to strengthen the public health intelligence available at all levels of the health system, including government, private sector and NGO sectors.
The area of Public Health Medicine practice is broad and the disciplines in public health embrace the measurement, behavioural, management and social sciences. Research in the division embraces studies in communicable and non-communicable disease, behaviour change, health promotion and disease prevention, community based services, health service improvements, human resource planning and management, programme evaluation, surveillance, quality, upstream determinants of health and research translation. Staff are involved in operations research projects in the areas of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, immunization and STI's, analyses of HIV cohorts, demographic health analysis, studies of migration trends and impacts on health services, mortality analysis and surveillance, public health orientated reproductive health research, human rights and public health, public health ethics, farm worker health, prevention of alcohol related harms and the health hazards of pesticides, research into health sciences education, and research into health sciences education. A recent focus has been work on data harmonization and curatorship of patient level data for public health planning, as well as investigating the process of research translation.
The Division has strong links with other programmes training registrars in Public Health Medicine in South Africa as well as supporting the Public Health Association of South Africa. It is actively engaged in facilitating the contribution of Public Health Medicine to the important policy re-engineering initiatives aimed at improving universal access to health care and addressing the burden of disease in South Africa.
Leslie London, Professor and Head of Division
Phone: 021 406 6524
Leslie London is a public health specialist with an interest in human rights, public health ethics, farm worker health, prevention of alcohol related harms and the health hazards of pesticides. He is the head of the Division of Public Health Medicine, leads the Health and Human Rights programme and is an active researcher in the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research. He provides technical support to the provincial XDR TB panel and to the public health functions of the Health Impact Assessment Directorate in the Health Department.
Andrew Boulle, Professor
Phone: 021 406 6715
Andrew Boulle is a Public Health Medicine specialist with the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health and Professor of Public Health Medicine at the University of Cape Town. His research has predominantly addressed operational and clinical questions related to HIV service provision, often through analyses of HIV cohorts or population-based analyses. A further focus is context-appropriate information systems development in health care and the use and harmonisation of person-level health data for service and patient benefit. He currently provides oversight for the Provincial Health Data Centre in the Provincial Department of Health and leads the African Health Information Exchange consortium which brings together organisations working on interoperability and technical solutions in support of services for HIV and tuberculosis.
Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER)
Public Health Medicine specialist training
Mary-Ann Davies, Professor and Director: Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER)
Phone: 021 406 6051
Mary-Ann Davies is a Public Health Medicine Specialist and Paediatric Clinical Epidemiologist at the University of Cape Town, where she is Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER). She convenes the MPH module on Infectious Disease Epidemiology. She is joint Principal Investigator of IeDEA Southern Africa, together with Matthias Egger from the University of Bern in Switzerland. Here major research interests are paediatric HIV treatment and prevention, especially HIV cohort research to address key policy and implementation questions.
Virginia Zweigenthal, Associate Professor
Phone: 021 406 6714
Virginia Zweigenthal is a public health medicine specialist with an interest in both undergraduate and postgraduate public health education that prepares practitioners for practice in complex work environments. She is interested in research translation - the impact of research on services and the involvement of service providers in research. Virginia has an interest in public health orientated reproductive health and HIV research.
James Irlam, Senior Lecturer
Phone: 021 406 6377
Teaching & Research Fields
Nisha Jacob, Senior Lecturer
Phone: 021 650 1084
Dr Nisha Jacob is a Public Health Physician in the Division of Public Health Medicine. She attained her medical degree (MBChB) from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2008. She has worked in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces of South Africa in clinical, managerial and research settings. In 2016, she obtained her Fellowship in Public Health Medicine from the Colleges of Medicine South Africa and also obtained her Masters in Medicine (M.Med - Public Health Medicine) from UCT. She currently convenes the 4th year MBChB Health in Context course and chairs the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the UCT School of Public Health and Family Medicine. Her research is based at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Research (CIDER) and centres around evaluating programmatic, child and maternal health outcomes of antiretroviral use in pregnancy, as well strengthening health surveillance in the Western Cape province using routine data sources. She is also involved in post-graduate training and mentorship. Her other academic interests include non-communicable diseases, child health and health professionals’ education.
Ntsiki Mapukata, Senior Lecturer
Phone: 021 406 6710
Ntsiki qualified as a cytotechnologist in 1989 and worked in the State Pathology Laboratory in Umtata until February 1998. Since then, she has been working in higher education institutions at DUT (December 2004); Wits Division of Rural Health (December 2016); Wits: Office of Student Support (March 2019).
As a convenor of the BP/BHP course, she hopes to continue to explore her broader research interests on health sciences students’ engagement with the education system. Currently registered for a PhD in Public Health, her study explores the influence of habitus on professionalization of health sciences students of rural origin. Ntsiki is a co-investigator on a Wits based project that seeks to understand the transition, university experiences and success factors of students from less privileged communities.
Feroza Amien, Lecturer
Phone: 021 406 6221
Feroza Amien is a Dental Public Health Specialist with a focus on inter-professional educational issues which includes incorporating necessary oral health curricula into the relevant health professions. Feroza also has a keen interest in medical education and Problem-based Learning (PBL) in particular. In 2010 she attended an advanced course in PBL at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Whilst there, Feroza conducted a film project about PBL facilitator development in different countries. For more information on the latter, click here
Ishaaq Datay, Lecturer
Phone: 021 650 2882
Teaching & Research Fields
Siwe Toto, Lecturer
Phone: 021 650 4485
Siwe is Deputy Course Convener of two undergraduate public health courses within the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. He is currently pursuing an MSc in Occupational Therapy at UCT. Siwe's thesis explores occupations (things that people do every day) that promote self-healing, health and wellbeing in South Africa. Having studied at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at UCT and having worked in different departments at UCT, Siwe understands the landscape that many students and staff experience, particularly experiences of otherness, marginalisation and exploitation. These ultimately lead to ill-health and disease. Siwe hopes that his research and practice can help students and staff who experience social injustice on a daily basis, to heal, to live more healthily and experience good wellbeing.
|Kerrin Begg, Deputy Dean: Joint Faculty-Dept appointment|
|Tracey Naledi, Deputy Dean: Joint Faculty-Dept appointment|
Tolu Oni (ORCID ID) is a Public Health Physician Scientist and urban epidemiologist, joint lead of the University of Cambridge MRC Epidemiology Unit Global Diet and Activity Research programme, and Honorary Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of Cape Town.
She leads the Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE|Africa), an urban health group focused on building intersectoral systems for health as well as prevention of infectious and non-communicable disease multimorbidity in the context of epidemiological transition. RICHE|Africa is thus a collaborative of transdisciplinary science, policy and societal actors, generating evidence to support development and implementation of healthy public policies in cities, and identifying creative strategies to address complex urban population health challenges in rapidly growing cities.
Recent and ongoing projects led by A/Prof Oni include:
|A von Delft|
|Keith Flandorp||Undergraduate Administrative Officer||(021) 406 6710|
|Dominique Adams||4th Year Undergraduate Administrative Assistant||(021) 650 5789|
|Faranaaz Bennett||Postgraduate Administrative Assistant||(021) 406 6818|
Journal articles - PHM
Chapters in books - PHM
Journal articles - CEOHR
Chapters in books - CEOHR
Journal articles - PHM
London L, Himonga C, Fick N, Stuttaford M. Social solidarity and the right to health: essential elements for people-centred health systems. Health Policy and Planning 2015; 30: 938–945.
Chapters in books - PHM
Journal articles - CEOHR
London L, Jørs E, Neupane D. Pesticide poisoning: A response to Eddleston. Environ Health Insights. 2019 Jan 27; 13: 1178630218825243.
Burnhams NH, London L, Laubscher R, Nel E, Parry C. Results of a cluster randomised controlled trial to reduce risky use of alcohol, alcohol-related HIV risks and improve help-seeking behaviour among safety and security employees in the Western Cape, South Africa. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2015 May 8;10(1):18.
Harker-Burnhams N, Musekiwa A, Parry C, London L. Do workplace substance abuse prevention programmes include a focus on substance-related HIV risk behaviors: A systematic review. African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies 2013; 12(1): 1-22.
London L, Beseler C, Bouchard MF, Bellinger DC,Colosio C, Grandjean P, Harari R, Kootbodien T, Kromhout H, Little F, Meijster T, Moretto A, Rohlman DS,Stallones L. Neurobehavioural and neurodevelopmental effects of pesticide exposures. Neurotoxicology 2012; 33: 887–896.
Chapters in books - CEOHR
London L, Joshi TK, Cairncross E and Claudio L. (2011). Environmental Justice: an international perspective. In: Nriagu JO (ed.) Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, volume 2, pp. 441–448 Burlington: Elsevier. Updated 2018 as London L, Joshi TK, Cairncross E, Gilmore J, Claudio L (2018; in press) Environmental Justice: an international perspective. In: Nriagu JO (ed.) Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, Burlington: Elsevier.